McGill wins $84-million grant for neuroscience


McGill has been successful in the national competition for a massive amount of research funding under the federal government’s Canada First Excellence Research Fund (CFREF), which will provide the University with an $84-million grant over seven years to support an ambitious effort in neuroscience to advance understanding of the human brain and ease the burden of neurological and mental-health disorders.

By McGill reporter staff

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$ 900 million for universities

Ottawa invests almost a billion dollars in to research for major Canadian universities.

Vincent Maisonneuve

See video on Radio-Canada here


Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives (HBHL) Fact Sheet

Support from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF)

  • $84 million in federal funding over seven years
  • $150 million for Canadian neuroscience via CFREF projects at McGill (HBHL) and Western ($66 million for “Beautiful minds: Brain health for life”)
  • $213.2 million for three complementary Montreal projects at McGill, Université de Montréal, and Polytechnique Montréal


  • Financial support for innovation from the Government of Quebec
  • More than $50 million in philanthropic gifts already committed
  • 3 partners on a new pan-Canadian Network for Brain Health: Western University, Brain Canada, and Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)
  • 19 academic institutions
  • 12 foundations
  • 9 industry partners
  • 7 Canadian consortia
  • 5 international consortia
    • BigBrain Project
    • European Human Brain Project
    • Human Connectome Project
    • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
    • Organisation of Human Brain Mapping
  • 4 incubators
  • 3 venture capitalists
  • 3 research networks
  • 1 research commercialization agent

Building on world-class resources

  • Inaugural Scientific Director: Alan C. Evans, who is in the top 1% of highly cited researchers in the world
  • McGill Neuroscience brings together
    • 250 scientists and clinicians
    • 1,300 graduate students
    • 255 postdoctoral fellows
  • $65 million annually in research funding
  • Affiliated hospitals, research institutes, and basic research departments
    • Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital
    • McGill Centre for Research in Neuroscience
    • Douglas Mental Health University Institute
    • McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre
    • Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research
    • Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health
    • McGill University Health Centre Goals
  • Understand the healthy brain
  • Shed new light on how the brain wires itself
  • Advance how we categorize disorders
  • Develop new diagnostic tools
  • Discover new ways to treat disease
  • Improve patient access to novel treatments
  • Translate knowledge into public health, workplace, or social interventions

How the funding will be spent

  • Research
    • Discovery Fund for Interdisciplinary Research
    • Research Transition Awards
    • Seed Award for Innovative Ideas
  • Talent
    • Student and Postdoctoral Fellow Training Clusters
    • New Investigators Start-up Grants
    • Visiting Fellows
  • Innovation
    • International Collaboration Platform
    • Neuro-Innovation Fund
    • Knowledge Mobilization
  • Infrastructure
    • Technology Development
    • Core Facilities Operations

Anticipated outcomes by 2023

  • “Canadian Framework for Brain Health” launched
  • $84 million in leveraged funds from external sources (1:1)
  • 1,500 high-income jobs
  • 30 spinoff companies and licensing contracts
  • 10% increase of McGill faculty working in related areas
  • 20% increase of McGill students and postdoctoral fellows working in related areas